England - pregnant women getting paid to stop smoking..

May 19, 2009 - Pregnant women in South Yorkshire in Yorkshire County (this county is among the largest in England and is divided into four parts - North, South, East and West Yorkshire) could be rewarded with shopping vouchers if they quit smoking in a move already under attack by campaigners who say public money should be better spent.

Under the scheme, which is set to be agreed by health bosses today, mothers-to-be in Rotherham (a city in South Yorkshire) would receive High Street vouchers worth up to £40 (61.97USD) if they attend appointments with the health trust's stop smoking service. Vouchers worth a further £20 (31USD) would be given to their husbands or partners if they also quit.

If 100 couples take part in the scheme it would cost NHS Rotherham £6,000 (9,298USD) – far less, health chiefs say, than the cost to the NHS of the long-term problems associated with smoking in pregnancy. In Rotherham, the vouchers would be non-transferable and couldn't be redeemed against cigarettes or alcohol. They would be valid for stores including Mothercare, Early Learning Centre, Boots and Argos .

NHS Rotherham is aiming to reduce smoking in pregnancy rates to 15 per cent by 2010.

The report to go before today's board meeting says: "It has been estimated that interventions to reduce smoking in pregnancy could result in savings to the NHS at a rate of up to £4 (6.20USD) for every £1 (1.55USD) spent on the intervention.

But Susie Squire, campaign manager for the TaxPayers' Alliance, said: "This is a total waste of taxpayers' money. "Their own health and that of their child should be enough of an incentive for pregnant women to stop smoking, without any voucher system. "We've got to put the responsibility back on the individual and realise that nannying people simply doesn't work."

Similar pilot schemes have also taken place in Telford in Shropshire County and Colchester in Essex County. A pilot project in Brighton in Sussex County included children as young as 10, leading some critics to warn youngsters could be inspired to take up the habit to earn vouchers. Counties in England..

Ten reasons for pregnant women to quit smoking..

Reference: £40 vouchers for mothers-to-be who quit smoking by Jemi Harvey, Yorkshire Post, 5/18/2009.

Related news brief: U.K. women paid for stopping smoking when pregnant..